The History Behind "ETS"

*First a quick note on some of the dates. It’s unlikely in some cases that any single day can be pegged as the start of a new name/ logo etc. Case in point June 29, 1997. This was the day that the City rolled out Horizon 2000. Generally this is considered the divide between the blue/ yellow stripe livery and the blue and silver, however, 214 had been painted up and touring around in advance in the livery and the Edmonton Transit System name had started to appear on Ride Guides and the 1993 D40LF’s back in 1993. We have tried to provide specific dates and with our reasoning why on a case by case basis.

Edmonton Radial Railway - Summer 1908 - July 16, 1946
Without going into too much detail (see the book Edmonton’s Electric Transit for that) in late July/ Early August 1908 the City of Edmonton made arrangements to purchase the rights, privileges, and property Strathcona Radial Tramway Company Ltd. Edmonton's Electric Transit states that the operation was to be known as the Edmonton Radial Railway. (EET Pg. 11).

Generally speaking most of what I’ve seen refers to the ERR name lasting until 1946. However, I feel that this might not have been the case. Of note with the adoption of the new livery in 1926, there didn’t seem to be any lettering or logos of any sort on the car bodies except for the fleet numbers.
Certainly, by 1932 the name “Street Railway Department” was in use on motor buses, and, its use became more common throughout the text in Edmonton’s Electric Transit. Edmonton’s first 3 motor buses all were delivered lettered as Street Railway Department (Photos in my collection, CCF Bulletins).

The trolley coach fleet, like the streetcars, doesn’t seem to have ever had any lettering applied initially.

Edmonton Transportation System July 16, 1946 - April 29, 1947
While there certainly seems to be some overlap with the use of ERR and SRD, what is certain is that on July 16, 1946 the name was changed to Edmonton Transportation System and that lead to the adoption of “ETS” logos on buses.

Edmonton Transit System April 29, 1947 - Early 1976
A slight change to ETS occurred on April 29, 1947 when “Transportation” was replace with “Transit”. This name would live on until 1976, resurface in 1993, and then the initials “ETS” were re-adopted on June 29, 1997. The first ETS logo consisted of a simple oval with the initials E.T.S spelt out inside. By the 1960’s this had changed to a stylized ETS that was cast in aluminum as a solid piece and applied to buses. A few buses received red painted logos on account of the aluminum piece being applied to cream or white portions of the bus  I’m not sure exactly which year this style of logo first saw use, but, it looks like it might have been as early as 1962. This logo would remain in use until 1972, at which point a similar, but thicker, logo was adopted. Noteworthy are the GM TDH-5105’s. From all photos I’ve seen, it seems that in later years the buses received the fatter logo on the front only and retained their thinner logos on the sides. Two exceptions to this are 432 and 438 as restored, both sporting the fatter logo on the sides.
Throughout the 1946-1975 period ETS retained the red and cream scheme introduced in 1926. With the arrival of the GMC New Look TDH-5301 in 1960 however they changed up the paint layout a bit.
The 1960 and 1962 buses were delivered silver from the belt rail and down to match the “silversides”, red around the windows, and then cream above the windows. While I can’t conclusively say at this point, it looks like the 1963 TDH-5301, 1964 and 1966 TDH-5303’s came painted similar to the first two groups, except they received red down to the lower skirt panels, leaving the “silversides” as the only silver portion of the bus. With the 1967 TDH-5303’s ETS returned to having the cream below the passenger windows. All other buses retained the red below the windows and cream above. The shade of cream would vary, particularly starting in 1967 when a much lighter shade was used.

Edmonton Transit May 4, 1976 - June 29, 1997
1976 would prove to be a year long change to transit in Edmonton.
Edmonton Transit in 1976 received a total of 100 buses, 397-399, 601-696. These were the first buses delivered in the new white livery with blue and yellow stripes and were delivered in April and May 1976. On May 4, 1976 ETS had an ad in the Edmonton Journal that provided some insight into the new livery and the coming changes. Since 1970 ridership had increased 40%, while the City’s population had only increased 25%, and bus pass sales had increased 400%. Edmonton Transit had made 65 service improvements to their 78 routes in the prior 2 year.
The livery was chosen on the thinking that the white would help the “buses stand out in the multi-colored patchwork of today’s traffic”. The stripes were made of reflective material and placed and vehicle headlight height to help with visibility of the buses to other traffic, and it was felt that the “contemporary color combination” itself would be highly visible during the day.
A new logo was debuted that featured a general E shape with a sideways T inside. This became known as the “Flying E” or Pacman logo and can still be found around Edmonton if you know what you’re looking for. The City of Edmonton itself also redesigning the City logo and settled on a large, rounded E which is still in use today. As a result of May 4th being the day that this ad appeared we're going to use that day to represent the change in paint scheme and name. Route number conversions would continue through 1976.(EJ May 4, 1976)
Like the later name changes to come, it looks like that “Edmonton Transit” was in use before the actual announcement. An ad for February 1, 1976 service changes includes the old ETS logo with “Edmonton Transit” next to it.
Throughout 1976 there were service changes and improvements. These cumulated with the conversion on December 7, 1976 of any routes still with a letter prefix to being a number only.

Transition Back to Edmonton Transit System 1993+
The Edmonton Transit System name began to return to ETS. While both the 1993 and 1994 D40LF’s were delivered without lettering, the 1993’s would receive the “Flying E” and “Edmonton Transit System” along the roof line. “ETS” was added to the front of bus. All lettering was italicized. The 1994’s for the most part never did receive any lettering or logos until they were repainted (243, 255) or refurbished. "Edmonton Transit System" began appearing on printed media.

Edmonton Transit System June 29, 1997 - November 14, 2016
Throughout the 1990’s Edmonton Transit was working on a complete overhaul of the bus route network, known as Horizon 2000. As part of this overhaul, a new livery of blue and silver adopted and ETS took over from the “Flying E”.

Edmonton Transit Service November 14, 2016 - Present
Nearly 20 years after Horizon 2000 and ETS has seen significant growth. Once again ETS had begun a overhaul of the transit network. Charles Stolte, the transit manager, was fired in June 2015 and replaced by Eddie Robar in January 2016. This was just one of many changes within City administration that has occurred over the previous few years. Perhaps as a result of all of these changes, "System" was replaced by "Service". I think the easiest way to explain this change is two quotes from the minutes of an ETSAT meeting:
“ETS’ new organizational structure, which was announced internally by the Deputy City Manager on November 14, 2016 and in effect from the date it was announced.”
“Branch Manager Eddie Robar presented his plans and rationale for the reorganization of ETS. ... pleased to learn about the shift from a "system" to a "service" which is a key theme in our upcoming User Experience report.”
(Source: )